So now Bush wants the facts....isn't it a little late for that now?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ARogueTrader, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Here is a quote from GW in the story below:

    "I want to be able to compare what the Iraq Survey Group has found with what we thought was there prior to going into Iraq,"

    I don't know about you, but I don't recall anyone in the adminstration saying they "thought" there were weapons in Iraq. All I remember is how certain they were, how sure they were, how they knew the weapons were there.

    Bush says he wants facts on Iraq WMD
    Friday, January 30, 2004 Posted: 3:29 PM EST (2029 GMT)

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amid calls for an independent probe into prewar intelligence failures, President Bush said Friday he too wants to know about any discrepancies in what the United States knew about Iraq's weapons capabilities.

    "I too want to know the facts," Bush said, repeating that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was "a growing danger" and the world is better off without him.

    "I want to be able to compare what the Iraq Survey Group has found with what we thought was there prior to going into Iraq," he said, referring to the CIA/Pentagon team assigned to hunt for banned weapons.

    The Bush administration cited weapons of mass destruction as a key reason in its decision to invade Iraq last year.

    On Capitol Hill, an influential member of the Senate Intelligence Committee joined the call for an independent investigation into the intelligence used to justify going to war.

    Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, who earlier opposed such action, is prepared to support a resolution seeking an independent probe, a spokesman said.

    Democrats and others have called for such an investigation after former top U.S. weapons hunter David Kay's assessment that Iraq likely had no stockpiles of banned weapons before the war. Kay cited apparent intelligence failures in his testimony this week before a Senate panel.

    Some administration critics have demanded CIA Director George Tenet's resignation.

    Support for an independent probe also is building among GOP ranks.

    "A lot of Republicans are ready to get on the independent bandwagon," said a senior GOP Senate leadership aide.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, repeated his support for such a review this week, one he first voiced last summer when discrepancies emerged about Bush's 2003 State of the Union assertion that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium in Africa. (McCain's earlier statements)

    "There has to be an outside commission investigating that and until that happens most Americans won't be satisfied," McCain said Thursday. "But most importantly we have to have lessons learned so we don't repeat the mistakes of the past."

    Republican strategists have noted that many Democrats -- including former President Clinton -- bought into the same intelligence on Saddam's regime before Bush took office.

    Clinton said Thursday ample evidence existed to justify pushing a new round of U.N. inspections at the least.

    "At the time of September 11, there were officially unaccounted for stocks of botulin, aflatoxin and ricin, which justified, in my view, the U.S. going back to the U.N. and asking for the U.N. inspections," Clinton said.

    Sen. John Kerry, considered the Democratic presidential front-runner, is among those who have demanded Tenet's resignation.

    "I called for George Tenet to resign several months ago," the senator from Massachusetts said on the campaign trail Thursday. "I think there has been a lack of accountability at the CIA. I regret it. I know him personally, but that's the nature of responsibility."

    Calls for the CIA chief's resignation also followed in the wake of last year's controversy over Bush's declaration that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa, an assertion proven wrong.

    But the administration continues to express confidence in Tenet's abilities, and the CIA cautioned that Kay's assessment of intelligence failures is premature and may be wrong.

    Former Defense Secretary William Cohen, a Republican, said he agreed with the call for "an independent, nonpartisan commission to get at the facts." But he said he opposed calls for Tenet's resignation.

    "I think at this point we should not be looking for scapegoats or scalps but rather the facts," Cohen said Friday on CNN's "American Morning."

  2. Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

    --Dick Cheney Vice President Speech to VFW National Convention 8/26/2002

    Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

    --George W. Bush Speech to UN General Assembly 9/12/2002

    The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.

    --George W. Bush Cincinnati, Ohio Speech 10/7/2002

    Iraq could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical weapons to a terrorist group or to individual terrorists,...The war on terror will not be won until Iraq is completely and verifiably deprived of weapons of mass destruction.

    --Dick Cheney Vice President Denver, Address To Air National Guard 12/1/2002

    If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.

    --Ari Fleischer Press Secretary Press Briefing 12/2/2002

    We know for a fact that there are weapons there.

    --Ari Fleischer Press Secretary Press Briefing 1/9/2003

    We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.

    --Colin Powell, Secretary of State Remarks to UN Security Council 2/5/2003

    In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world -- and we will not allow it.

    --George W. Bush Speech to the American Enterprise Institute 2/26/2003

    Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

    --George W. Bush Address to the Nation 3/17/2003

    Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.

    --Ari Fleischer Press Secretary Press Briefing 3/21/2003

    There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And . . . as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.

    --General Tommy Franks Commander in Chief Central Command Press Conference 3/22/2003

    I have no doubt we're going to find big stores of weapons of mass destruction. Kenneth Adelman, Defense Policy Board member

    --Washington Post, p. A27 3/23/2003

    We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

    --Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense ABC Interview 3/30/2003
  3. If you or I had made the kind of blunders that George Tenet has made while on watch over this great country of ours, we would have been fired years ago.
  4. Bush has to do some major firing in order to shift the blame away from his administration.

    We are going to see major spin and blame techniques used on this one.

  5. Where's the Apology?

    Published: January 30, 2004

    George Bush promised to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Instead, he got rid of accountability.

    Surely even supporters of the Iraq war must be dismayed by the administration's reaction to David Kay's recent statements. Iraq, he now admits, didn't have W.M.D., or even active programs to produce such weapons. Those much-ridiculed U.N. inspectors were right. (But Hans Blix appears to have gone down the memory hole. On Tuesday Mr. Bush declared that the war was justified — under U.N. Resolution 1441, no less — because Saddam "did not let us in.")

    So where are the apologies? Where are the resignations? Where is the investigation of this intelligence debacle? All we have is bluster from Dick Cheney, evasive W.M.D.-related-program-activity language from Mr. Bush — and a determined effort to prevent an independent inquiry.

    True, Mr. Kay still claims that this was a pure intelligence failure. I don't buy it: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued a damning report on how the threat from Iraq was hyped, and former officials warned of politicized intelligence during the war buildup. (Yes, the Hutton report gave Tony Blair a clean bill of health, but many people — including a majority of the British public, according to polls — regard that report as a whitewash.)

    In any case, the point is that a grave mistake was made, and America's credibility has been badly damaged — and nobody is being held accountable. But that's standard operating procedure. As far as I can tell, nobody in the Bush administration has ever paid a price for being wrong. Instead, people are severely punished for telling inconvenient truths. And administration officials have consistently sought to freeze out, undermine or intimidate anyone who might try to check up on their performance.

    Let's look at three examples. First is the Valerie Plame affair. When someone in the administration revealed that Ms. Plame was an undercover C.I.A. operative, one probable purpose was to intimidate intelligence professionals. And whatever becomes of the Justice Department investigation, the White House has been notably uninterested in finding the culprit. ("We have let the earthmovers roll in over this one," a senior White House official told The Financial Times.)

    Then there's the stonewalling about 9/11. First the administration tried, in defiance of all historical precedents, to prevent any independent inquiry. Then it tried to appoint Henry Kissinger, of all people, to head the investigative panel. Then it obstructed the commission, denying it access to crucial documents and testimony. Now, thanks to all the delays and impediments, the panel's head says it can't deliver its report by the original May 11 deadline — and the administration is trying to prevent a time extension.

    Finally, an important story that has largely evaded public attention: the effort to prevent oversight of Iraq spending. Government agencies normally have independent, strictly nonpartisan inspectors general, with broad powers to investigate questionable spending. But the new inspector general's office in Iraq operates under unique rules that greatly limit both its powers and its independence.

    And the independence of the Pentagon's own inspector general's office is also in question. Last September, in a move that should have caused shock waves, the administration appointed L. Jean Lewis as the office's chief of staff. Ms. Lewis played a central role in the Whitewater witch hunt (seven years, $70 million, no evidence of Clinton wrongdoing); nobody could call her nonpartisan. So when Mr. Bush's defenders demand hard proof of profiteering in Iraq — as opposed to extensive circumstantial evidence — bear in mind that the administration has systematically undermined the power and independence of institutions that might have provided that proof.

    And there are many more examples. These people politicize everything, from military planning to scientific assessments. If you're with them, you pay no penalty for being wrong. If you don't tell them what they want to hear, you're an enemy, and being right is no excuse.

    Still, the big story isn't about Mr. Bush; it's about what's happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn't. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?
  6. Dump Cheney Now!

    Published: January 29, 2004
    WASHINGTON — The awful part is that George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein were both staring into the same cracked spook- house mirror.

    Thanks to David Kay, we now have an amazing image of the president and the dictator, both divorced from reality over weapons, glaring at each other from opposite sides of bizarro, paranoid universes where fiction trumped fact.

    It would be like a wacky Peter Sellers satire if so many Iraqis and Americans hadn't died in Iraq.

    These two would-be world-class tough guys were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to show that they couldn't be pushed around. Their trusted underlings misled them with fanciful information on advanced Iraqi weapons programs that they credulously believed because it fit what they wanted to hear.

    Saddam was swept away writing his romance novels, while President Bush was swept away with the romance of rewriting the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf war to finish off the thug who tried to kill his dad.

    The two men both had copies of "Crime and Punishment" — Condi Rice gave Mr. Bush the novel on his trip to Russia in 2002, and Saddam had Dostoyevsky down in the spider hole — but neither absorbed its lesson: that you can't put yourself above rules just because you think you're superior.

    When Dr. Kay spoke these words on W.M.D. — "It turns out we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment, and that is most disturbing" — both America and Iraq learned that when you try too hard to control the picture of reality, you risk losing your grasp of it.

    In interviews, Dr. Kay defended the war with Iraq, saying that the U.S. "has often entered the right war for the wrong reason," and he defended Mr. Bush, saying, "if anyone was abused by the intelligence, it was the president." He also told Congress "there's no evidence that I can think of, that I know of" that Saddam collaborated with Al Qaeda.

    Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, the ex-C.I.A. weapons sleuth used a metaphor that was perhaps inspired by Martha Stewart, comparing the C.I.A. with a lousy stockbroker.

    "If I were your broker," he told Senator Jack Reed, "and you were investing on my advice . . . and at the end of the day, I said Enron was the greatest company in the world, and you had lost a substantial amount of money on it because it turned out differently, you would think I had abused you."

    Certainly the C.I.A. has a lot to answer for. For a bargain price of $30 billion a year, our intelligence aces have been spectacularly off. They failed to warn us about 9/11 and missed the shame spiral of a deranged Saddam, hoodwinked by his top scientists.

    They were probably relying too much on the Arabian Nights tales of Ahmad Chalabi, eager to spread the word of Saddam's imaginary nuclear-tipped weapons juggernaut because it suited his own ambitions — and that of his Pentagon pals.

    But while he is skittering away from his claims about Iraqi weapons, President Bush is not racing toward accountability. It's an election year.

    The Times's David Sanger wrote about an administration debate "over whether Mr. Bush should soon call for some kind of reform of the intelligence-gathering process. But the officials said Mr. Bush's aides were searching for a formula that would allow them to acknowledge intelligence-gathering problems without blaming" the C.I.A. or its chief.

    The president wants to act as though he has a problem but not a scandal, which he can fix without rolling heads — of those who made honest mistakes or dishonest ones by rigging the intelligence.

    Dick Cheney, who declared that Saddam had nuclear capability and who visited C.I.A. headquarters in the summer of 2002 to make sure the raw intelligence was properly interpreted, is sticking to his deluded guns. (And still trash-talking those lame trailers.)

    The vice president pushed to slough off the allies and the U.N. and go to war partly because he thought that slapping a weakened bully like Saddam would scare other dictators. He must have reckoned there would be no day of reckoning on weapons once Saddam was gone.

    So it had to be some new definition of chutzpah on Tuesday, when Mr. Cheney, exuding more infallibility than the pope, presented him with a crystal dove.